Paul Gadzikowski


Stream of Consciousness

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm not the only person, I know, to have noticed that in DOCTOR WHO prose fiction the Doctor is rarely the point-of-view character, in keeping with the mystery of the character which Verity Lambert valued so much and which she felt was so violated by episode ten of The War Games. I do it too, so I thought it might be an interesting exercise to write an entire story from the Doctor's point-of-view.


A Dalek had rolled into the TARDIS as soon as Leela had operated the door control. From the styling it appeared to be a Second Imperial Age Dalek, but of course that was from the Dalek history previous to his interference in their genesis at the Time Lords' behest. The TARDIS databanks still had the old, erased Dalek history in its history banks. He really ought to stop in at Memory Zed and download the modified version. Perhaps he could get it free of charge on the grounds that he was owed a complimentary author's copy. Author of the actual history, that is, not of the datafile describing it. Or perhaps he was the author of the datafile. Will be, rather. The chances that the Memory Zed editors would ask him to compile the history at some point in his subjective future were quite good (though whether he'd actually do it might depend on the personality they approached). All in all there was too great a possibility that it would contain anachronistic glimpses of his own future. He'd have to give Memory Zed a miss; in fact, now he remembered that that was the reason why he'd never done it yet.

True to her reaction time Leela had dropped into a defensive crouch before the Dalek had finished its sentence. She was a refreshing one, that girl. Usually when he was worried about one of his girls getting into trouble, it wasn't the bad guys whose health he was concerned about ...

He always hated to take on a new traveling companion, but once he got to know them he was always glad they were there. Had allowing Susan to talk him into bringing her given him a need for company, or had a need for company allowed her to talk him into it? Of course he asked himself this all the time, and went through phases of believing either answer, all the while knowing he'd never know.

So given this known need for company, why did he always try to refuse it when it came along? Was it just the obvious, the danger to others in the life he led? With rare exceptions no one boarded the TARDIS without at least a sample under her belt of the sort of adventure that made up his life. To judge for them whether they'd be any more or less happy with or prepared for this life smacked of the Time Lord high-handedness that was part of the reason he'd left. Not that he was entirely immune to that ...

The other obvious reason for reluctance was the known need for company, because it always seemed that he'd just got fond of each one when she left. This was no new thought either, of course. Last time, with Sarah Jane, he'd turned the tables - he'd left her on the excuse that aliens weren't allowed in the Citadel; true, but flimsy, given that he wasn't supposed to be there either. And once the fuss on Gallifrey was over he realized he felt even worse than if he'd waited until she'd left on her own. He must find a way to make it up to her.

K-9 had been the other side of the console when the Dalek had entered, and hadn't moved. Probably the Dalek could just see his rear antenna and casing. Apparently K-9 had consulted databanks on Daleks - his own, or through radio link with the TARDIS - and realized that, if the Dalek knew he was a mobile computer and even suspected he had offensive armament, it'd fry him where he sat.

K-9 was different, of course. He was only a machine. The Doctor had welcomed him onto the TARDIS without a moment's hesitation because he was such a versatile and user-friendly unit. He'd done a lot of upgrading on the dog, too, and even mentally started on plans for how he'd have done things differently than did Professor Marius. If something did happen to K-9 he could just be rebuilt, and reprogrammed from the backups the Doctor sometimes remembered to make.

On the other hand ... the Doctor certainly believed that there were explanations for everything in the universe, but he also believed that it'd be a poor universe with nothing in it that couldn't be measured by the tools of sapient life. If a self-aware machine behaved just like a self-aware organism, who was to say it didn't have a soul as much as the organism did? If the organism did. In any case the Doctor had got awfully fond of K-9.

The Dalek must be alone, or its compatriots would be boarding the TARDIS with it, to seize the time machine for their own race. The TARDIS must have landed somewhere rather remote from its base.

Funny how the TARDIS always managed to land in the middle of things without quite landing in the middle of things. The Time Lords were accountable for much of that, of course, but not all. Sometimes (such as on Karn) they forced a landing on him without any other communication, whether he admitted it to his companion (such as on Karn) or not (such as on Dulkis). But sometimes he wondered whether the old girl had her own ideas where he needed to be. He could ask her, of course, but that didn't mean she'd answer.

Daleks. With a base not near here but not very far. He had no idea what might interest Daleks on this planet; he and Leela had come for the waters. Well, he had a Dalek right here to pump for information - best to stop woolgathering and get to it.

It had been about two seconds now since the Dalek had delivered its ultimatum. He needed to make a reply or Leela would say or do something brave and foolish. He hadn't decided yet whether to allow the Dalek to lead them off or to take action against it; nor had he yet been able to remember whether the temporal grace was still effective after his last half-finished round of maintenance. He decided a delaying tactic was in order.

"Pardon me?" said the Doctor.

Sorry, sorry. I'm exhausted. I can't keep this up through a whole story. I'm going to have to quit here.


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